Farm groups are encouraged by President Donald Trump’s infrastructure commitment for waterways, but Politico questions how the President plans to fund the effort. Trump announced his plan with Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke earlier this week. The American Soybean Association says President Trump’s remarks highlighted the importance of the waterways and the need for infrastructure upgrades, specifically citing the backlog in funding needs for modernization of locks and dams that have exceeded their life expectancy and are deteriorating. However, his budget proposal for the fiscal year 2018 would cut the Army Corps of Engineers’ construction funding by more than 50 percent, with only enough funding to work on a single new lock and dam project on the system. The Army Corps of Engineers maintains some 12,000 miles of inland waterways. The budget proposal also leaves a diesel fuel tax that the barge industry lobbied for in 2014 in a trust, unused. The industry touted the tax as a way to improve waterways infrastructure.
From the National Association of Farm Broadcasting News Service.